HOME/Borrani rims, some background
27 December 2013 by Harné Heuvelman
Yes they’re back! Borrani motorcycle rims are being produced again and this market re-entry has not gone without a stir among classic motorcycle enthusiasts. There are some stories spread over the internet which is why we felt the need to give some more background information about the new Borrani rims. After all, it is important to know what these new rims are all about and how they compare to the known Borrani rims from the sixties and seventies.
Borrani was established in Milan as a wheel manufacturer in the 1920’s and for years was known for making the Rudge-Whitworth licenced ‘single nut’ wire car wheels that were fitted to many Alfa Romeo’s, Lancia’s and Ferrari’s up until the 1960’s. The company also became the leading supplier of aluminium wheels for motorcycles, and they of course also made their way to our beloved Ducati’s.
From the late 1950’s, Borrani rims were fitted to most of Ducati’s racing models where the street models were fitted with chrome-plated steel rims. Many owners of course converted their rims to the sporty Borrani rims. With the introduction of the Silver Desmo in 1971, Borrani rims finaly found their way to the regular production Ducati’s. They were also fitted to the later Yellow Desmo, the R/T, the later Mark 3 Desmo models and of course to the bevel twin models.
There were a number of different wheel models and stamps used on the different models and production years. Although very consistent, both the model and the inscription changed regularly, making most of the original rims specific for a model, model year or even an production batch. A good example is the Borrani 4777 2.15x18” rim that, while keeping the distinct 4777 reference, changed its appearance three times.
With the ‘modern’ age of casted wheels appearing in the 1970’s, the wire wheels were considered a thing of the past. With the introduction of the Darmah in 1977, wire wheels were gradually phased out only to re-appear in 2005 with the introduction of the Sport Classic range.
Ducati had it right with doing this retro-range; aluminium wire wheels are still regarded by many enthusiast as the ultimate feature of a classic bike. And among aluminium rims of course the ‘Borrani’ is the holy grail. This interest is perhaps best shown by the prices people are willing to pay for original Borrani’s, running up to many thousands of Euro’s for some models.
With Borrani as a company still active (making car rims), it was only a matter of time before they would make use of their great heritage and return to make motorcycle rims as well. That moment has now come whit the re-introduction of the Borrani motorcycle rim.
In order to keep costs at a minimum a moulded rim is imported into Italy from China, with of course a sound quality control. All of the further processing is done at the Borrani factory in Milan; the dimples are made, it is drilled, stamped on the original machine used in the 1970’s and then polished. You can perhaps argue about it, but with much of the specific processing done by Borrani, it is a ‘Made in Italy’ product.
It is important to value the new Borrani rims for what they are; good quality motorcycle rims made by a famous brand that can be used for many restoration or modification. You should not regard them as a perfect copy of the original rims! This is of course also reflected in the price; if you want the real genuine Borrani for your restoration; prepare to spend a long time searching and paying a small fortune for them. The new production rims are merely an alternative for the originals; not a replacement.
Together with Borrani, Back to Classics has developed a number of rims that are now available in our online shop:
• 1,85X19 4403 front wheel for the 750 GT and Sport
• 2,15x18 4626 rear wheel for the 750 GT and Sport
• 2,15x18 4777 front and rear wheel for the 1974 750 Super Sport.
• 2,15x18 4777 front and rear wheel for the 1975 750 and 900 Super Sport.
Rims for the Silver and Yellow Desmo singles are in development.
We are very happy with the new Borrani rims available and we hope you are as well. If you have any questions, please contact us!